RandomCon: Open source idea for a new kind of conference

During one conference season, people give the same talks over and over again. No one feels they learn something. It doesn't have to be that way!

Random.org Bitmap

Conferences try to wow us with revolutionary, all-new conference designs – Different setup! New impulses! Discuss like never before!

Still, conferences seem to stay exactly the same: Over and over again the same people come together and tell the same presentations. All we see is repetition and it's hard to feel any kind of new horizon.

It seems like we're doing the good of bringing together the brightest minds, but constantly bore them and us with the same questions and answers every time.

Why not do it differently, every single thing?

Change it all

  1. Let's change some key aspects of a conference or barcamp:

    • Presenters submit their topic at multiple events
    • Attendees buy their tickets and read the finished program
    • Presentations are being given repeatedly
    • After the talks, attendees have the chance to ask their questions

  2. Let's replace these mundane steps with the following fresh ones:

    • Attendee buys ticket and can ask a question to be answered at the conference
    • Attendee can also decide to register as a presenter when buying the ticket
    • All questions are collected and randomly assigned among presenters – two days before the event
    • Each speaker prepares and holds a talk discussing a questions they probably wouldn't have asked themselves

We call that the RandomCon.

Why random?

By seperating the topic of the question from the area of expertise of the speaker, we make two things sure: The agenda is crowd-sourced, and the experts are challenged to ponder an unusual question.

The potential lies in interdisciplinarity.

Think of all the inventions that come from one expertise colliding with another – by chance. Don't know any? Ask for an answer at the first RandomCon!

Our call? A better TED.

PS: Why Open Source? First, conferences aren't my business, and second I'd like to see this idea taken further by other people.


Social Mobile = Brand Advertising

I admire this insight from Ben Thompson

Brand advertising, especially, is all about visuals and video (launching soon!), but no one has been able to make brand advertising work as well on the web as it does on TV or print. There is simply too much to see on the screen at any given time. This is the exact opposite experience of a mobile app. Brand advertising on Facebook’s app shares the screen with no one. Thanks to the constraints of mobile, Facebook may be cracking the display and brand advertising nut that has frustrated online advertisers for years.


Car-inspired fixie bike project

Eight part video series about a fixie bike project from Antwerp, Belgium.


Future iPads, iPhones with glass frame, hidden cameras?

iPads half their width every 2.5 years – so I wonder when it approaches 1mm by 2020, what iPads will look like.

Some people think they will look like this:

However, it will never be practical to cover some of the screen in order to hold the device. I think it will be more like this, only the other way round:

With the other way round I mean the frame will be all glass, and only the display will have a back plate. See this one and think the other way round:

The back of the iPhone 5 already hints in this direction, and one can imagine the top to be glass all-through, and the aluminium being the back plate for internals and display:

The glass could of course still be coloured black or white, like the glass frame is coloured now:

Or Apple goes back to transparent glass like in the sunflower iMac from 2002:

Such a thing would probably look like this:

It's uuugly: because it makes something obvious: the front-facing camera will not sit very beautifully in a glass-only frame and wouldn't make a good reference to the legendary translucent 1998 iMac either.

So, I think the camera will go to the center of the device and be hidden behind the display:

This will also work in Macbooks and iMacs of course:

And until 2020 there should be enough time to develop it, right? :-)


Holy Shit

A person should be buried only half a meter, or two feet, below the surface. Then a tree should be planted there. He should be buried in a coffin that decays so that when you plant a tree on top the tree will take something out of his substance and change it into tree-substance. When you visit the grave you don’t visit a dead man, you visit a living being who was just transformed into a tree. You say, “This is my grandfather, the tree is growing well, fantastic.” You can develop a beautiful forest that will be more beautiful than a normal forest because the trees will have their roots in graves. It will be a park, a place for pleasure, a place to live, even a place to hunt.

It took millions of years for vegetation to cover the sludge and toxic substances with a layer of humus, a layer of vegetation and a layer of oxygen, so that humans can live on earth.

And now ungrateful humans are bringing the sludge and toxic substances – which have been covered with tedious cosmic effort – back up to the surface.

In this way, through the misdeeds of the irresponsible human species, the end of the world is becoming the beginning of all time. We are committing suicide. Our cities are carcinomas.

We don’t eat what grows near us – we import food from far away, from Africa, America, China and New Zealand.

We don’t keep our shit. Our rubbish, our waste is flushed far away. We are poisoning rivers, lakes and oceans with it, or we transport it to complicated and expensive purification plants, or more rarely to centralized composting facilities. In other cases, our waste is destroyed. The shit never returns to our fields, and neither does it return to where our food comes from.

The cycle by which food becomes shit is functioning.

The cycle by which shit becomes food is broken.

Whenever we flush our toilets, with the conviction that we are performing a hygienic act, we are breaking cosmic laws, because in reality it is a godless act, a sacrilegious gesture of death.

When we go to the toilet, lock it from the inside and flush away our shit, we are trying to put an end to something. What are we ashamed of? What are we afraid of? We repress what happens to our shit, just as we repress death. The toilet hole appears to us like the gate to death; we try to get away from it as quickly as possible, forget as quickly as possible about the rottenness and decay. However, it is exactly the opposite! It is with shit that life first begins.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser


We are the Twitter clients.

Twitter does not want us to use only their website, because they can display more advertising there, or better. They want us to be logged in to Twitter when we visit other websites, so all the Tweet buttons over there can track our behaviour. This quality of data can not be collected in apps or clients.